1. TheSmiler
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    TheSmiler Member

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    Stuck at the beginning location

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by TheSmiler, May 28, 2014.

    Stuck on a setting, basically one of the books I'm writing was from my dream. It started out as the character searching for food in an old shop; However I don't really feel that is good enough to start the book off. Sounds boring, unimaginative and quite dull.

    Bit about the plot...

    The world has gone to hell, major governments have folded and now only certain areas are safe. This main character (female) has never been a people person and has always stayed away from large crowds. So she rarely visits the safe places apart from getting rare supplies.

    Whilst searching she is going to get attacked, goes outside and sees hundreds of enemies (that's what I'll call them as I don't want to give too much away). But the searching just seems dull like I said.

    Any opinions/help offered is much appreciated.
     
  2. tupbup
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    tupbup Member

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    I don't think starting with something normal is a bad idea. If you ignore the opening bit to McCarthy's The Road, that pretty much starts with searching for supplies. It is the setting they wander through next that creates the intrigue. Running out into a mass of enemies would be very exciting for the reader. So long as the 'normal' part of the opening doesn't drag on too long it should be fine, contrasted with a sudden rush of action seems perfect.
     
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  3. Flynn C.
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    Flynn C. New Member

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    You could start with some kind of flashback. Maybe some relevant moment that tells the reader something interesting about your character, and that you don't mind giving away at the start. Or (as you didn't specify), if she was alive before hell broke loose, a flashback to how she used to live before.
     
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  4. Bumfoot
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    Bumfoot Member

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    Question...are you bringing to the story that this was a dream of yours? That might be a fun twist, adding another perspective. Like Flynn said, too, a flashback would intrigue me and make me want to read on and figure out what is going on.
     
  5. Larissa Redeker
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    Larissa Redeker Active Member

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    I agree with the flashback too. Specially to say that she isn't a people person, and when she was searching for food, she tough that is better to do it alone. And then she's alone with a lot of enemies :)
     
  6. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Maybe the character could be searching for something more important than food--something that supports a subplot. Medicine, or a tool that she badly needs for something, something of that sort. Then the introductory searching scene would have its own plot weight, and the readers won't have that, "When are we going to get to something important?" feeling.

    Edited to add: Or maybe:

    - She's going to shoplift the item.
    - She's there for a clandestine meeting.
    - She left something hidden in the shop and she's back to get it.
    - She's spying on the shop owner.

    All of those, again, have their own plot weight, their own excitement, and then the excitement of the attack gets layered on top of that. So the reader goes from engaged to more engaged, instead of from bored to engaged.
     
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  7. HelloThere
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    HelloThere Contributing Member

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    She's running out into hundreds of enemies? This is gonna be a pretty action packed opening, unless you plan on devoting pages and pages to her walking round an empty shop. You should be fine if you ask me. It's said that the whole of the book should be in the opening scene (or something like that) so is she going to be searching empty shops and getting attacked by enemies a lot throughout the novel? If so I think you should be fine.
     
  8. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    @ChickenFreak (as usual) has nailed this.

    If we don't know anything about this character or her situation, having her flinging a door open to find herself confronted by a crowd of 'enemies' ...please lord, not zombies, not yet another zombie story, please... is not going to make it an exciting opener. It's just going to be puzzling, and we'll be attempting to figure out what the heck is going on rather than being excited.

    You've got the right idea about starting slower, but as ChickenFreak suggests, slower doesn't have to be boring. Make your character's trip to the shop—whatever kind of shop it is—have more meaning than just 'I need supplies.'
     
  9. TheSmiler
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    TheSmiler Member

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    Thank-you for the replies everyone.

    I've been tempted with the flashback/mentioning it was my dream, but quite unsure how to fit this in. She was alive before the the world turned upside down, also had a husband and child. Both of them are now lost to the barren lands (this helps the next part of the story).

    @Larissa Redeker

    The only problem is she is alone and gets attacked whilst searching however when she goes outside. She hears a noise and wonders what is happening; there are civilians mixed in with the enemies (large battle). Two of the civilians she ends up saving as they remind her of the family that she lost; whilst traveling the barren land.
     
  10. TheSmiler
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    TheSmiler Member

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    @jannert

    Sorry but hardly any zombies in this book, there is a barren land where the incident happened and may contain something. But let's not get into that yet, I'm striving to have a puzzle on the readers minds from the set go.

    I've found personally that I like to have an unknown feeling about a book; than be excited straight away and have the excitement fade away into nothing.

    @jannert / @ChickenFreak

    Searching for an item is interesting however I'm really not sure what it could be.

    Don't really want to make her ill and the shop is deserted (so can't be stealing anything). Meeting someone else could work or the returning for an item. Hmm guess I'll have too look back at this with more thought.
     
  11. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Personally I'm delighted to hear this. :) Not a fan of zombies in the first place, and MIGHTY sick of them appearing in every dystopian story...:meh:
     
  12. Motley
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    Motley Active Member

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    The question that popped into my mind was, "What is her overall story goal?" It can't be just to find food. I would hint at it somehow, through flashbacks or thoughts or whatever, in such a way that the readers are connected with her in some way. Then when she runs into 100 rabid hamsters or whatever it is, it will be that much more filled with tension.
     
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  13. Okon
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    Okon Contributing Member Contributor

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    @Motley: Shh. You're giving away the OP's secret enemies.;)

    @TheSmiler: If your protagonist is injured--a bleeding wound that requires patching/stitching--I'm already going to be curious, while she recklessly upturns a pharmacy for medical supplies and painkillers. Or she could be looking for something as simple as a can opener so she can eat dinner:pop:. The latter would appeal more with personal relation, while the former might have more intrigue.
     
  14. TheSmiler
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    TheSmiler Member

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    Well the aim of the novel the MC won't know until the battle afterwards. Although I could turn it around so she is seeking out ingredients for a cure. Which might actually work it would mean research into pharmaceuticals though.

    Ah well more of a challenge equals more fun.


    Think I'll go with searching for medical supplies (vaccine) with a flashback included. Now it's just fitting them in together.


    Thank-you for everyone that has replied to this thread. Means a lot and has helped me to get this fully underway. See how far I get might post a tester on the forum. That's if I can decide which category as my original category you don't have (Action & Adventure).
     

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